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Misery (1990) — Episode 36 — Decades of Horror 1990s and Beyond

“He didn’t get out of the cock-a-doodie car!” Annie Wilkes (Kathy Bates) won’t be taking any guff from her favorite author Paul Sheldon (James Caan) about cliffhangers. Which isn’t ideal for Paul. At the mercy of his number one fan who’s abusive and pretty much off her rocker. Paul’s in pain and needs to get out real quick. One could say his situation leaves him in…  Misery. Based on the acclaimed novel from Stephen King,  Misery  helped legitimize the horror genre in the 90s with an Academy Award-winning performance. However, how does it hold up to this day? The answers are contained in Decades of Horror 1990s and Beyond!

Decades of Horror 1990s And Beyond
Episode 36 – Misery (1990)

Misery  was based on a novel that writer Stephen King said was a metaphor for his substance abuse. Yet, the film adaptation feels more like a meditation on fandom. Kathy Bates’ Oscar-winning turn as Annie Wilkes feels like a meditation on the type of fans we see on a daily basis on the internet. After saving Paul from a blizzard, she forces him to essentially write her fan fiction. All in order to bring back Paul’s titular character from the dead. It’s a brutal case of holding a twist on the captive audience. Rather, it’s the captive writer providing a story for is captor.

To break down all of this, Thomas Mariani enlists Dave Dreher, Scott Johnson, and Kaycee Jarrard. Resident Stephen King expert Dave describes how well the novel embodied everything he imagined while reading the novel. Kaycee notes how James Caan’s performance really is one that needed to be played by a supporting actor. Scott notes just how scarily accurate this ends up being to modern fan culture. Thomas notes how this is part of the damn impressive first decade of Rob Reiner’s career. Truly, they know that  Misery  loves company.

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The intro and outro is  “Suck City” by Black Math. Look for more of their music via  Free Music Archive.

Next Episode

Get Out  (2017)

Doc Rotten
Doc Rotten is the founder of Gruesome Magazine. He is also a film critic for Gruesome Magazine and the podcast host & producer for Horror News Radio, Monster Movie Podcast, Decades of Horror: 1970s, The American Horror Story Fan Podcast and Hannibal Fan Podcast. He is also co-host of the Dracula podcast on TV TALK and is a contributing reviewer for HorrorNews.Net and Widescreen Warrior. Doc a lifelong fan of horror films, sci-fi flicks and monster movies first discovering Universal Monsters and Planet of the Apes as a young child in the 1970's searching out every issue of Famous Monster of Filmland (and, later, Fangoria). Favorite films include Jaws, The Car, The Birds, The Tingler, Vampire Circus and The Exorcist. Still a huge fan of horror films from the 70s, Doc continues consuming horror films to this day for the site, for the podcasts and for the fun of it all.

1 Reply to “Misery (1990) — Episode 36 — Decades of Horror 1990s and Beyond

  1. Something I really liked about the book vs the movie is that in the book it showed that Annie had a point on Sheldon cheating with his story with Misery coming back. When she’s talking about the old serials that pissed her off because it would show one thing and then show another thing the next week, Paul Sheldon actually realized he was wrong and he had to come up with a different way to bring Misery back, he realized he was cheating and being lazy, whereas in the movie he just kind of treated her like she was being crazy. I think that’s one of the few regards where Annie is treated better as a character with merit in the book than in the movie.

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